Have you ever wondered about your competitor’s traffic data? Where it's coming from, and who they are? I bet you have! On the off chance that this thought ever crossed your mind, we want to share a web tool that gives you a good indication of how your competition is doing.
Compete is a web tool that helps you “become a better online marketer” by giving you the ability to research competitor web traffic, identify keywords, discover the source of competitor referral traffic, and more.
Sadly, this is not a free service. Pricing and plan information is available online, but for now, let’s talk more about how you can use the features for your own good. If you are knee deep in a struggle for competitive keywords, it would be nice to rely on something other than Google, Yahoo, and Bing for data.
Competitor Web Demographics
You don’t need a magic ball to find out the age, income, and gender of your competitors web visitors. Compete will gladly provide you with up to two years of your competitors demographic data. What can you do with this information? Use it to recalibrate your online marketing strategy to gain an advantage over your online competitors.
Incoming Traffic and Engagement Analytics
It’s not enough just to know who is visiting your competitors website, you need to know why they are visiting and more importantly, what your competition is doing to attract them in the first place. Compete claims to offer the ability to “reverse engineer” traffic building strategies from any website. You can even discover referral sites that your competitors use to funnel traffic to their own website. The takeaway for you is clear – update your online marketing strategy to target these sites and leverage strategies that actually work.
Benchmarking & Ranking Ability
Knowing where you stand as it pertains to online marketing metrics is critical to measuring your success, or failure, in reaching any new goals. Simply put, you have to know where you are before you can get where you want to go. You have to know where to focus your efforts and where not to waste time. Compete will tell you what your online market share is in your specific industry. You can even create lists of the top websites ranked by specific metrics within Compete.
If you are exploring options to tilt the odds in your favor, do some more research on Compete. Here’s a review from another online marketer. If you decide to take the plunge and try it out, tell us what you think in the comments below. If you have tried Compete in the past or are currently using it, tell us what you think!
Many companies are still on the fence about the marketing value of using Twitter for business. While some are confused on how twitter works, many just aren’t completely sold on using the micro-blog as legitimate marketing tool. Budgets are tight and besides increased exposure, Twitter’s return on investment for small business was dismal…until now.
Two companies, American Express and Chirpify, are taking Twitter marketing to the next level by allowing users to make purchases online using hashtags. Finally the use of Twitter hashtags is DIRECTLY linked to a monetary gain. In this blog, you will learn how American Express and Chirpify are using Twitter hashtags to drive Twitter-based commerce, or T-Commerce for short. The takeaway is clear – start thinking of ways to use Twitter hashtags to sell your product or merchandise and, of course, get more Twitter followers.
Last year, American Express introduced a new Twitter marketing strategy that offers couponless discounts to cardholders for tweets. The program is simple enough: tweet about the things you love and AmEx will save you money.
How It Works
- Visit sync.americanexpress.com/twitter to sync your AmEx card with your Twitter account.
- Tweet a hashtag like #amexshoes and savings are instantly loaded to your card. AmEx works with brands like McDonalds, Zappos, Best Buy, and Whole Foods Market to make this tradeoff worth the consumers wild.
As of Monday, February 11, AmEx upgraded their Sync program to allow cardholders to purchase featured items online using Twitter hashtags. AmEx has managed to completely streamline and simply the purchase process by taking out several steps for their cardholders. Currently there are only a few items available for purchase via Twitter hashtag: an AmEx giftcard, Amazon Kindle HD, Xbox Controller, etc. Not only do cardholders enjoy the convenience of purchasing using Twitter hashtags, they get the items at a discounted rate.
Marketing Takeaway – Use social media to reward your customers for the things they love and tweet about already. If you provide a valuable offer to your current customers, they will hold up their end of the bargain and do the marketing for you.
While this is exciting news for AmEx cardholders, it is not necessarily anything new to the social media marketing game. Another company, Chirpify, is responsible for making Twitter “transaction friendly” by allowing users to buy AND sell items directly by replying with “buy”. I know what you’re thinking. I already use PayPal for social commerce and payments. Can it get any easier than PayPal? The answer is YES and brands and bands like Taco Bell and Green Day are already using this tool to drive commerce on Twitter and Instagram.
How it Works Video
Getting Started with Chirpify
- Set up an account for free
- Link your PayPal account to receive payments
- Sync your Twitter and Instagram accounts
- Create listings
For starters, you can create three different types of listings: For Sale, Fundraiser, or Gimmie. The first two are pretty obvious, but the third, Gimmie, allows you to host social giveaways.
While it’s free to signup for Chirpify, they charge 5% per transaction for a basic account. If you choose to upgrade your account to “Enterprise,” a robust offering of features is available to you.
Enterprise Account Features:
- Promo/Coupons Codes
- Umbrella Accounts
- Priority Support
- Advanced Reporting
- Branded Registration
- Branded Storefront
- Best Practices Training
- Flexible Transaction
- Promoted Listings
If that sounds like a sweet deal to you, contact Chirpify to receive a quote for an Enterprise account. We suggest testing the waters for a while with the Basic account to see if your customers catch on to the idea.
It’s clear that this Twitter marketing tool is driving social media commerce in a serious way. Here are some reviews from TechCruch, Media Bistro, and WSJ:
You've learned how two companies are using Twitter hashtags to drive commerce and create an immediate return on investment. This is more than enough proof that there is money to be made by investing in a serious Twitter strategy. Hashtags are available to everyone, whether you're a big franchise or a local mom and pop shop. Follow Chirpify and AmEx's lead on this one and read our social media marketing e-book to learn how you can jumpstart your Twitter campaign right away.
It’s that time of year again. Grocery stores are overflowing with heart-shaped candy and stuffed animals while cheesy Hallmark ads seem to dominate every commercial break. All of which is aimed at awakening the hopeless romantic trapped inside us all.
The window for Valentine’s Day sales and promotions is officially open. Although February is the shortest month of the year, the season of love, however short, is a big money maker for businesses. That means it is time to whip your pay per click ads into shape.
In this blog, we will give you four pay per click strategies for Valentine’s Day 2013. Of course with Valentine’s Day, not every business will be a good fit for themed promotions and sales.
What Businesses Are Best Suited to Target Valentine’s Day Consumers?
- Gift shops
- Travel agencies
- Dating services
- Bakeries and sweet shops
Why? It’s pretty obvious that these businesses offer products that consumers are looking to purchase for their sweethearts. According to a survey by ORC International, Valentine’s Day is the second most popular gift-giving holiday. It’s a great time for marketers to get their Valentine’s Day offers online for consumers to cash in. Here are four tips to can help you get some mileage this season.
1. Get a Head Start
Do yourself a favor this year and get ahead of the game. By now (Feb. 6), you should already have decided what sales or promos you plan to offer consumers. If not, sit down and iron that out. Once you have that squared away, launch your campaign swiftly because if last year’s data is any indication of this year, people started searching for Valentine’s Day gift ideas on January 7th. Take a look at the graph below shows that women have a lead on men this year.
2. Decide on Search Terms
Here are some of the most searched terms for Valentine’s Day on Google. Bid on them. Use them in your blogs posts to rank in organically in search engines. Again, use them in your pay-per-click ad copy, especially headlines.
Once you decide on which terms you can afford and what works best for your sales offering, make sure you are placing them properly throughout your marketing copy whether online or in your store. Consistency is important so your efforts do not appear scattered, but rather purposeful and strategic
3. Create Specific Landing Pages On Your Website
Having individual landing pages for each of your Valentine’s Day promotions is key if you want to convert your web visitors to buying customers. The message you used in your ad copy should mirror what’s on your landing page. It’ll increase your quality score dramatically. Also, make sure to use the most searched terms in our URL, header, ALT tags, etc. so your pages rank.
4. Evaluate Your Performance & Adjust Your Ads
Remember, the beauty of online ads is that you have the power to monitor your effectiveness in real-time. You could literally watch click by click and track the subsequent visitors to your website if you so desired. Evaluation is one of the most critical steps in any marketing campaign. When it comes to a tactic such as PPC, continuous monitoring and quick adjustments can be the difference between a successful campaign and a wasted budget.
If the threat of a wasted budget is keeping you up at night, it’s best to hire someone to manage you PPC ads. In the long and short run, you will see a huge return on investment because your current promotions will be successful and you’ll have stronger brand recognition. Make this Valentine's Day a profitable one.
Apple made no apologies about yanking Vine from the featured section of its App Store after a raunchy porn clip appeared in the ‘editors pick.’
Vine, Twitter’s video-sharing app, experienced a very big porn problem soon after its launch last Thursday. While Twitter is in the process of filtering searches to remove #porn and other similar terms, it’s still unclear if Apple will remove the ban the app altogether.
The App Store is pretty strict when it comes to porn and has a zero-tolerance policy on the matter. The app, 500px, was completely removed from the store due to users ability to search for nude pictures. The hallmark of Vine is six-second videos and thousands of users jumped on board merely hours after the app launched. Then came the porn.
According to Twitter, a “human error” is to blame for the uncensored content. Regardless of where the blame lies, Apple has clearly set precedence that it does not tolerate pornography in the App Store. Parents have already begun voicing their concerns about the inability to censor certain material and even worse, child pornography, according to an Apple employee.
"The app [500px] was removed from the App Store for featuring pornographic images and material, a clear violation of our guidelines," said Tom Neumayr said in a statement to ABC News. "We also received customer complaints about possible child pornography. We've asked the developer to put safeguards in place to prevent pornographic images and material in their app."
500px resubmitted to the App Store after tightening up their filter settings and changing the app’s rating. Twitter is in the process of deleting workaround hashtags, but has made no direct move to restrict users from uploading pornographic material. Instead, they are making it harder for users to find that type of content.
Despite all the controversy, Apple declined to make a statement about whether they would remove Vine from the App Store. It is unlikely that will happen since Apple and Twitter strengthened their relationship through iOS integration. At the moment, Vine is ONLY available through the App Store, so to remove it would be a complete slap in Twitter’s face.
For the time being, Vine is still very active and very much available to the public, including marketers, so let’s get involved! If you had six seconds to share your brand with the world, what would you show? That is the question social media marketers should be asking themselves when it comes to using Vine for business. It’s a very simple app to use, so anyone with an iPhone can join the party.
Here’s an overview of how to use Vine from our friends at Mashable.
Facebook’s newly released internal search tool, Graph Search, has received much praise and criticism since emerging on January 15th.
Despite their critics, it is clear that Facebook is once again taking social media marketing to another level. It’s their official first stab at socializing search to allow users to search through people, photos, places, and interests. CEO Mark Zuckerberg describes Facebook as a huge database and “just like a database, you should be able to query it”.
By allowing users to utilize the many datasets its collected over timed, formerly known as the social graph, Facebook hopes to deal a huge blow to a number of businesses including Google, LinkedIn, Help, and Match.com.
Alas, not everyone is excited. Critics of Graph Search have pointed out potential privacy issues and concerns with the data’s validity. At the press event where Graph Search was unveiled, Zuckerberg attempted to calm the fears by educating users on how the new search tool interacts with user-controlled content.
(Credit: James Martin/CNET)
Another issue critics have with Graph Search is that results are limited the information that users decide to share. Most people have some level of privacy controls active on their profile, which places further emphasis on friend to friend interactions. A recent review on “The Atlantic Wire” criticized Facebook for not understanding vague variations of the English language.
It is important to keep in mind that Facebook will do with Graph Search as they do with every new feature or product – change it over time. The tool is still in the early beta stages and will evolve as it gradually rolls out to more users. In the meantime, let’s discuss how brands can optimize their pages for Graph Search.
Update your ‘About’ section
Provide your physical address, phone number, website, etc. Double check your hours of operation as well. Take information from your website’s ‘About Us’ section and add the text here. Search engines can pick up on this information, so make sure your business description is an accurate and not overly complicated explanation of what you offer. This way, when fans who search for their friends who have ‘liked’ Italian restaraunts in Atlanta, Georgia, your chain of local eateries will float to the top of the results.
Encourage customers to leave recommendations
Another huge aspect of Graph Search for brands is the integration of the recommendations section. Before Graph Search, recommendations was simply an odd ball content box on the right side of your profile. Now Graph Search will return results directly from this section, providing an in-house referral service. It’s very similar to what Yelp offers, except by building it on their own, Facebook has removed an extra step for its users.
Get more fans
Graph Search can either be really good for your brand page, or not.
Currently, it doesn’t rely on keywords like Google (it's unclear if that's a good or bad thing). It relies on user connections and if your brand is lacking in the ‘connections’ area, don’t expect Graph Search to dramatically change your situation. To get the most out of this new feature, you need more fans. The way you get more fans is by providing stellar content and ad targeting.
When a potential fan sees your brand in their search results, you want them to see you at your best. Take video and photos of your events such as customer appreciation parties. Tell your customers that you’re posting the pictures to Facebook and tell them to go tag themselves.
Check your category listings
Category listings on Facebook are another easy way to increase your chances to be found through Graph Search. If you already have assigned one category listing, go add more. If you haven’t assigned any, Facebook assigned something for you that’s either accurate or inaccurate.
Here at SearchDog Marketing, we get really excited when we come across unique applications of marketing tools. As more companies are focusing on digital campaigns, the use of quick response (QR) codes is on the rise. We tend to favor the out-of-the-box application of QR codes and the latest one we discovered more than meets that criteria.
In celebration of National Condom Week, the folks at Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest decided to use QR codes to encourage college students in the state of Washington to practice safe sex. In all, they distributed 50,000 condoms with QR codes printed on the wrappers. Once scanned, the codes allow people to check in to wheredidyouwearit.com to let the world know where they practiced safe sex.
While the campaign only lasted for a week, the overall campaign reach of more than 4,500 check-ins and 65,000 visitors was very impressive considering the nature of the campaign itself. The site’s interactive map showed the condoms traveled from coast to coast and six continents.
According to Nathan Engbretson, new media coordinator for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, “this isn’t about bragging. It’s not about digital notches in your bedpost. Even if people have no desire to check in, they’re still getting the sense of how many people like them use condoms.”
Planned Parenthood described the site as “like Foursquare for people who don’t want a sexually transmitted infection.”
Not only did the site allow users to use geo-tags to show where they practiced safe sax, it also allowed them to share their age, gender, and why they chose to use condoms. Users could even provide age and gender information for their sex partners. Additionally, they could rate their sex experience.
Engbretson told ABC News that 20% of the traffic came from mobile devices. He said that after the campaign concluded, he planned to analyze the data and tailor a marketing campaign for those people.
This very cool QR code application has got us thinking. Can QR codes impact behavioral changes? If so, what other ways could we use QR codes to encourage positive behavior?
Contrary to the rumor mill, it is possible to optimize your Facebook Fan Page for search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. True enough, you should not expect to see the same type of rich content from your Facebook Fan Page as your website. However, search engines will display more than enough information to funnel people to your fan page with ease.
Why Optimizing Social Media Is Important
Optimizing social media accounts to rank well in search engines may seem unnecessary to some, but it actually holds a lot of value to social media marketing. The key to remember is that your social media presence should not take the place of your website. It would be quite backwards to think your fan page should be outdoing your website in terms of content. Instead of thinking of these two sites as competing, think of them as complementary. Your Facebook Fan Page should be an extension of your web presence, constantly linking users back to your website and back into the sales funnel.
In this blog, we will provide the top four ways to optimize the search engine optimization of your Facebook fan page. When someone searches for your business Facebook fan page, the search engine automatically pulls up the title tag, meta description, and correlating images.
Top 3 Ways to Optimize Your Facebook Fan Page for Search Engines
1 – Customize Your Vanity URL
Once you have surpassed the threshold of 24 fan page Likes, Facebook allows you to create a shorter, more user-friendly, custom vanity URL (also called a username). Just as with websites, search engines love URLs, so it is best to align it with your business name as much as possible.
On the off chance that someone else already created an unauthorized Facebook page in your business’ name, you can claim that page and any Likes it has, after showing a bit of proof that you are the real business owner.
2 – Status Updates Serve as Meta Descriptions
While meta descriptions will not help you rank any higher in search engines, they are the information that search engines pull automatically. Meta descriptions are displayed whether you like it or not, so why not leverage it for social media marketing purposes? When it comes to Facebook, the first 18 words of your status update serves as your meta description in search engines. See the example below.
A good practice to follow is to add a link back to your website every time you update your status.
3 – Place Keywords Strategically
Search engines crawl social media sites for keywords the same way they do websites. Although the crawl is not as thorough, Facebook allows search engines to pick up your fan page name, about section, and meta description. It is critical that you pay close attention to these areas to you have high-ranking keywords in these positions. For Facebook fan page search engine optimization purposes, your page name is your SEO title, meta description is your page name and about section, and your heading 1 is your page name.
Remember to keep your about us section brief and to the point. This is not the time or place to list your company’s mission and values. Provide users with the information they need the most – business name, 1 sentence overview, phone number, and address. Local searchers will appreciate your brevity. If they want to find out more information, provide a link to your business website where more in-depth information can be found.
4 – Choose a Fan Page Name
Last but definitely not least is choosing an appropriate name for your Facebook fan page. While you may want to get creative here, we strongly discourage such behavior in this particular area. The more creative your name is, the more you are contributing to brand confusion. Your fan page name will serve as your SEO title, so it is important to make sure you are being consistent. Use your company name, nothing else. Do not try to stuff keywords behind your company name, because it will not get you anywhere on Facebook or search engines.
While there are many myths out there about what boost the search engine optimization of your Facebook fan page, you can only be certain about what Google displays in search engine results. We know for a fact that they show these four key elements, so focus your efforts there.
Google+ continues to roll out features to encourage its users to become more active. One of their newest features is Google+ Communities, which comes at a great time since LinkedIn decided to axe its events application not too long ago.
This update has caused a bit of a frenzy amongst social media marketers to quickly jump on the bandwagon to create Google+ communities. In this blog, we will explain what Google+ Communities are and provide examples of ways marketers can leverage this tool on a local level.
Think Strategy – Contrary to what you read in popular social media blogs, every brand should not invest in every social media tool available on the market. Before you decide to join the whirlwind of Google+ Community creators, take some time to research what is already out here. Try to leverage your brand by joining communities related to your personal (keep it tasteful) and professional interests.
Practice social media listening and monitor the conversations and posts before jumping into the mix. Think of a social media strategy that would best position your brand or clients brand without overtly coming off salesly. The more personable, original, and authentic you can be, the better.
Public or Private Community – If you decide to create a Google+ community, one of the most important decisions you will need to make early on is whether or not the community should be private or public. From a marketing standpoint, you should have a public community to make it easier for people to join. However, there are benefits to having a private community for certain brands.
For example, if you own a crisis center or women’s shelter and want to create an encouraging, but safe digital space for abused women. In this case, a private community would be best. However, if you are the owner of a local bar and want to connect with beer enthusiasts in the city, a public group is the way to go.
Develop a Small, Niche Community – When you read about the millions of users on Google+, it is easy to get high expectations about create a large community. The reality of Google+ is that the number of active users is not that impressive. Unless you are a big brand or public figure, your Google+ circles are most likely not in the millions. We’re here to tell you that’s OKay. Don’t get down on yourself. Google+ is still very new to the social media game and the developers are still, well, developing. Instead of aiming to create a large community, focus on creating a small, niche community. Massage the growth over time. Integrate your Google+ community with the rest of your social media efforts. Do not give up.
Create Events – Google definitely outdid themselves with Google+ Events. Not only can you create custom invitations, but you can automatically add them to your Google Calendar and share photos in real-time. Everyone who takes photos at you event can post them in one space instead of linking out to multiple photo albums. Pretty cool, huh?
Start Hangouts With Key Audiences or Targeted Personas – Want to meet the members of your community face-to-face? Meeting in the cloud is super easy now that Google+ Hangout is integrated with Google+ Communities. You can video conference with up to 10 people for free from the comfort of your computer, smartphone or tablet. As if that wasn’t enough, you can also broadcast your Google+ Hangout live on your profile.
If you want to read about all the Google+ Community features, check out their learning page.
Instagram’s recent terms of service debacle has many users feeling iffy about continuing their relationship after January 19 – when the new service and privacy agreements take effect.
Even after their attempt to “make it right” by reverting back to the original agreement verbiage with a few new additions, this unfortunate series of events has shaken many users’ faith in the Facebook owned, photo-sharing app. Prior to the Facebook buy out, Instagram supposedly had “no revenue and no business model.” Today, we all know the story to be quite different. From a consumer/user standpoint, the mistrust of Facebook is at an all-time high.
But are you really going delete your Instagram account? Some users have done just that, but millions continue posting photos faithfully. If you would like to leave the Instagram community, but can’t bear to go without posting your photos with a swanky filter, we have a few other photo sharing options for you to try out. Take some time to read the terms of service for each app. Review the terms of service agreements.
Streamzoo – http://streamzoo.com/about
Photo-sharing meets social gaming. Streamzoo is the winner of “2011 best app ever” in the Android photo sharing category. It’s one of the first photo sharing apps leveraging Facebook’s Open Graph connections. With this app, social media integration is seamless. It offers the ability to share videos or photos on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr.
Not to mention you will receive notification when your Twitter and Facebook friends join.
PicsArt - http://picsart.com/howto
PicsArt offers awesome editing ability with tools like blending, motion-blur effect, vinnette, custom collage, red eye removal, etc. built right into the interface. It definitely raises the bar for photo-sharing app in that respect. You can also share photos on Facebook and tag your GPS location. The
Eyeem - http://www.eyeem.com/about
Care to attend an international meet up of mobile photography enthusiasts? Eyeem is making it happen. Just check out their blog to see photos from meetups in Seattle, Istanbul, Paris, DC, Hamburg, Florence, and other locations. This Berlin born, photo-sharing app is a graceful marriage of amazing filters and versatile frames that produce creative shots every time. Intuitive tag recognition categorizes topics, places, and cities, which makes finding like-minded people easy.
Do you know of any other cool photo-sharing apps? Tell us in the comment section below!
By now you probably heard about Facebook’s latest attempt to monetize itself – charging $1 for messaging someone you are not friends with. Kudos to the marketing department for trying to spin this as an “inbox delivery test” in the official blog post, but truth be told this move is no different from what most dating sites and LinkedIn are already doing.
According to their blog, Facebook is testing to improve the deliverability of relevant messages. The test gives a small percentage of American users the option of paying $1 to have their message hit someone’s personal inbox instead of the dreaded ‘Other’ folder.
If you have never checked your ‘Other’ folder, do not be alarmed. It most likely contains spam and other random messages from people you have no connection with. Facebook does us all a huge favor by using algorithms to determine which messages are spam and which are actually relevant based on social connections. Imagine what your inbox would look like without these controls in place. It would likely mirror your personal email inbox and no one wants to deal with that on a social media site.
In an effort to deter abuse, users can pay to message someone’s inbox one time per week. The company shared their thoughts on other benefits of charging to message people out of your network:
So, this seems like it has the makings of a great advertising tool, right? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Facebook fan pages and businesses are not part of this test at the present. They intend to see how this test plays out in the coming months. In the meantime, this news serves as a great distraction from the Instagram terms of service fiasco of December 2012.
In addition to charging $1 to message out of network users, Facebook announced several other updates to messaging and messenger.
New Filtering Options: Basic vs. Strict Filtering
When basic filtering is active, messages from your friends and friends of friends will go to your inbox. If you previously had your setting on ‘friends of friends’ or ‘everyone’, basic filtering is now active.
Likewise, strict filtering allows you to receive message from only your friends. If your previous setting was ‘friends’, strict filtering is now active.
With these new filtering options, you will likely receive messages in your inbox that you hadn’t before. Here are the types of messages you will now receive: